Two weeks ago, the football-following public got a crash course on the procedures that apply to suspensions for on-field infractions, thanks to Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. And that knowledge could quickly be put to use this week, given the helmet-to-face hit applied by Steelers linebacker James Harrison on Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.
On Monday, league executives Ray Anderson and Merton Hanks will convene to determine the punishment, if any, to be imposed on Harrison for the hit. Given the league’s explanation of the relevant rules, Harrison’s belief that McCoy was acting as a runner likely will be undermined significantly by the fact that McCoy actually threw the ball.
Working against Harrison will be his history of fines. Last year, Harrison paid a post-appeal total of $57,500 for four incidents. And while the fact that McCoy flipped the ball as he approached the line of scrimmage could work in Harrison’s favor, watch the hit. Harrison dropped his helmet and planted the crown of it into McCoy’s chin, a move that was unnecessary, even if it somehow was legal.
And just as Suh’s lack of remorse surely didn’t help him last month, the over-the-top remarks from a July interview with Men’s Journal won’t help Harrison. “If that man was on fire and I had to piss to put him out,” Harrison said of Commissioner Roger Goodell, “I wouldn’t do it. I hate him and will never respect him.”
Harrison also posed for a photo with a pair of guns, called Goodell a “crook” and a “devil” and a “puppet” and a “dictator,” and Harrison described Goodell with a gay slur.
If Anderson and/or Hanks decide that the time has come to get Harrison’s attention by parking him for a week, Harrison would immediately be suspended pending an expedited review. Either Art Shell or Ted Cottrell — jointly hired and paid by the league and the union — would handle the appeal. A decision would come before the Steelers’ next game, on Monday, December 19 in San Francisco.
No decisions have been made about Harrison, but folks in the league office undoubtedly are already pondering the situation. The more we look at the video of the hit, the less surprised we’d be if Harrison is suspended.
Photo credit: MensJournal.com.